Sheriff doesn’t want ‘sexually violent predator’ moving into Merced County

MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A sexually violent predator is set to be released into a town northwest of Merced after an order by a Stanislaus County judge.

In a press conference on Monday, officials in Merced County feel like Stanislaus County is “dumping” the man in their county and putting residents in danger. The judge decided earlier this month that 72-year-old Kevin Gray should be released into the town of Ballico in February.

Gray’s criminal history leading up to his violent sexual predator status was not provided.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke says he, the DA, and others in public safety were not even informed about the man, described by officials as a “sexually violent predator” (SVP), until a Ballico resident called him and warned him about it. Warnke says Merced County has enough problems to deal with – and feels that releasing Gray into the county will only bring bad results.

“I don’t have the staff, resources, or personnel that can be dedicated to monitoring this guy because it’s kinda like a wolf…like hypnotizing a wolf not to eat cows. It might work for a week but that wolf is going to go back to eating cows,” said Sheriff Warnke.

“I’m going to tell you right now – this SVP, no matter what kind of treatment this person is getting – he will strike again.”

Officials in Merced County also allege the Stanislaus County judge violated state law by not including them in the process.

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